Balance Powers Memphis in to WBI Semifinals
March 21, 2010
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - -
The University of Memphis women's basketball team (19-13) shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half with scoring from eight different players to shoot past Wichita State (18-15), 74-58, in the quarterfinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI), Sunday afternoon.
"I'm really pleased with our team balance today," Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "I thought there was a four-five minute period there toward the end of the first half when they out-toughed us and I thought we came out in the second half and were just really efficient with the basketball and really did a great job with our pressure on defense. I think they felt our defensive pressure the entire game."
Memphis opened the game on a quick 7-2 run, forcing three Wichita State turnovers in the opening minutes while both teams were trying to feel one another out. Memphis kept forcing Shocker turnovers, to the tune of 14 in the opening stanza, before Wichita State started picking up loose balls and rebounds and drawing Tiger fouls. After fouls were 5-1 against Wichita State at the under 12 media timeout, they were 8-7 against the Tigers by the under 4 media, meaning the Tigers have been whistled 7-2 in the fouls category in an eight minute stretch.
WSU used the free throw line and little jumpers in the paint and around the bucket to power on a 17-2 run that trimmed what had been a 21-point Memphis lead at 33-12 with 8:26 to play to just 37-31 down at the end of the first half.
After the break, Memphis came out on a quick 4-0 run that pushed the Tigers back up by double-digits at 41-31 with17:35 to play. Wichita State would spend the next five minutes trying to trim the Tiger lead, cutting it to single digits three different times before Alex Winchell knocked down three triples in 5:06 stretch to blow the lead open at 18, 65-47, with 6:42 to play. The six triples Winchell scored Sunday tied her single game career high and set a new Memphis single season record of 68 threes, surpassing the previous mark of 64 held by LaTonya Johnson and Devin Necaise.
From there, the Tigers had an answer for everything else Wichita State would throw at them, wrapping up the 74-58 victory to move to 19-13 on the season and in to the semifinals of the WBI.
Brittany Carter led Memphis with 25 points, scoring her 14th 20+ point outing of the season while shooting 7-for-12 from the floor and 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. Winchell added 18 points, all from three-point range. Nicole Dickson added 10 points and three steals in 32 minutes of play for her seventh consecutive double-digit scoring game. LaToya Bullard led the offense with five assists, while Carter led the defense with five steals. Savannah Ellis added eight rebounds, three blocks and an assist in the match-up with her hometown squad.
Haleigh Lankster led Wichita State with 15 points, adding six rebounds before foul problems limited her time early in the second half. Freshman Jazimen Gordon, from West Memphis High School, added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds playing in front of some home town fans.
Memphis is awaiting word on the winner between a game between the University of Washington and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Tigers will host the winner of that game Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. With the win over Wichita State, Memphis has now won 10 straight games in the on-campus gym.